Monday, August 16, 2010

Fabric Postcards From Scraps

Somehow last week wasn't as productive as I thought it would be, but I did get started on some more fabric postcards. Annabel had shown an interest in my postcards and proposed an exchange the next time I got around to making some. That was months ago, and she has recently made good on her end of the bargain, so time for me to get with it. I wasn't sure just what I would work with, but after stalling out with one idea, I turned to some painted fabric trimmed off my two Bishop's Close quilts. I'd already made two nice postcards from them, so decided it was time to use up what was left - more clutter off the work table. I started with pieces already seamed, but needing a tad added to the width. In the example here, I inserted a narrow piece of piping, then thread painted a stream, tree and birds. It's what I was seeing in the random placement of the paint colors, a little landscape and I composed a scene not unlike one of the previous postcards. I've already had a comment that it has an Asian feel to it, being so sparse. I'm not totally happy with the water, and thinking I need to move on from these stark scenes. They're starting to feel creepy to me, like all of humanity has disappeared.

So on to the next one. Again, the two seamed pieces were a little shy of width so another strip was added, no piping. I was in a threadpainting mood and had been trying to sketch out a poppy. Stem and leaves no problem, but I find poppies a little difficult to depict. I recalled having some poppy fabric so dragged it out, hoping I could trace or sketch a bloom from it. Trying to envision this threadpainted bloom in dark thread, not feeling it would look right, not sure about using multiple thread colors, yes I was unsure about the whole idea. And then it hit me - why not just fussy cut from the fabric and fuse it down? Duh! Then I could add thread painting over it. I cut from four different sections to get the bloom and stem/leaves that I needed and played with them until I was satisfied with the arrangement. I'm really happy with the way this one came out and am sending it to Annabel. She will be getting a snippet of my old work (fabric from the Bishop's Close quilts) and precursor to a new series I'll be launching soon using the color palette of poppies and peonies from my garden. Working with this poppy, even though it is unlike the poppies I'll be using as inspiration, feels like playing the prelude in a symphony: laying groundwork, opening a door, saying I've begun the journey of heading in a new direction.

I had a long strip of painted fabric wide enough and long enough for two more postcards, no piecing of scraps. They were supposed to be finished last week too, but I'm stuck. Both suggest something but I'm not sure how to pull that out so others can easily see it, and do so in an interesting way. The piece on the left already had a little quilting on it - a test area - and I can see it being extended upward to represent a wall. The yellow suggests a doorway. My idea doesn't seem enough. If I can't get excited about it, why should anyone else? Turned the other way, it becomes another landscape, narrow ground, large sky, but again, how to make it interesting, what to add? The one on the right even more so says landscape to me, a desert scene with a road in the foreground and stark mountains in the background. I couldn't bring myself to put needle to it. I don't have any sense of how to make it come alive with quilting. And so I've set these two aside for the moment. Maybe I should just settle for using them as backgrounds to a totally unrelated bit of applique.

Finally, I must share with you Annabel's part of the exchange. Postcards are not her thing, but she was willing to give it a go. I didn't care what she sent me - just excited to have a piece of her work. She makes bookmarks to sell along with other small items at some of the local exhibits she participates in. Would a bookmark be equitable, she wondered? Yes indeed! It has every bit as much work in it as postcards and is functional as well. Thanks!

As always, you may click on any picture for a larger view.


Anonymous said...

And aren't I a lucky bunny! Thank you so much for this Sheila, and for explaining the method and reasonings behind making it. It will mean such a lot to me to receive it, so a huge thank you!

The Idaho Beauty said...

You're welcome, Annabel. Putting it in the post today.